interactive audio installation and performer
virginal status makes a martyr. gilded bones make myth a cathedral.
i wonder if those girls knew they were born for veal. the body of christ satiated by the flesh of calves.
i try to imagine what it's like sometimes. i picture myself, my virtual self, floating above my physical form, watching as she is shepherded towards the dock. i begin to question how i became apart of this flock in the first place. where are we headed? did i decide where to go? did you? there's something lycanthropic about the sheepdog circling us.
but it must've been my choice to join the herd, how else would my journey become legend? the girl who sailed across the english channel in a storm with 11,000 soldiers at my behest.
(or did i set sail with a fleet of only 11 maidens?)
as i float above my body, moving steadily forward with the cortège, i notice that the faces of the girls look just like mine. am i one consciousness, shared amongst the processional? are these the many facets of my being, my body sundered? or has my face become a placeholder in the lazy memories of men, men content to remember my(our)body in space but not my(our) body as inhabited? again i ask, whose bodies are these? which body am i? who am i? am i undecimilla? am i nothing but a number?
i come back out of myself, back to the temporal space that is still unfolding around me, not yet flattened by the weight of history. it is always after i imagine myself as one in a multitude of ancient girls that i realize that my journey was unnecessary all along. i know the feeling. i know the hinderance of contingent autonomy, my agency crippled by oppressive socialization. i don't have to wonder what it is like to watch a life be negotiated outside of the body that lives it. i don't have to imagine how it feels to contort oneself into structures not built for bodies like mine(ours). a flock of birds grounded with clipped wings (some more clipped than others); i(we) continue the cortège towards the rhine.
in prima muliere presignavit
ut mulier a viri custodia
for god has marked
in the primal woman
that woman should receive her care
from the guardianship of man.
Deus enim in prima muliere presignavit
Antiphon at Lauds for St. Ursula and Companions
(D 168r, R 472ra)
Hildegard Von Bingen
i went to a performance in the winter that had the most beautiful usage of feedback. i think that's when i began thinking about this installation. i imagined a large, austere, art-gallery-esque room with four (or more!) speakers affixed to the ceiling. each speaker was equipped with some sort of proximity sensor, in this imagination-installation, to determine whether a body was approaching the spot directly underneath the speaker. the speakers would use the position of the bodies in space to play a game of 'keep away' with the listener; when the speaker sensed an approach, it would throw its sound to the other speakers in the room - as long as those speakers themselves had not been encroched upon. i'm not sure where the feedback went, but in my imagination it was somehow just there.
since affixing speakers to my ceiling would probably violate some clause in my lease, i moved to the floor to mock things up.
i positioned four speakers, their sensors in a rectangular formation (using my living room carpet as a guide). using the breadboards that hosted the sensors (ultrasonic sensor and electret mic), i was able to wire both vcc, ground, in, and out signals around the rectangle by using the breadboards to patch the connections. the final breadboard (positioned at speaker 1) was used to route the in and out signals of all four sensors to the arduino and supply power to the whole circuit.
the signal path starts at the sensors that are connected to the interface and arduino, the mic to the former and the ultrasonic sensor to the latter; both the arduino and the interface connect to the laptop running Max; the signal exits the laptop back into the interface; and from the interface outs, the signal is routed out to the speakers by way of a digital amplifier that is also used to supply power to the speakers.